Friday, November 16, 2007

and just like that

let me formally announce that i will be the main blog featured at from here on out. go there now, that's where you'll continue to see my blog.
it's been fun thus far and i'll be doing the same sort of stuff over at hockeyanalysis that i've been doing over here.
seriously, go over there now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


i'm not talking about NHL news, i'm talking about shallowfrozenwater news. discussions are underway to move the blog to another website. nothing official yet so no official pronouncement but i'm more than a little hopeful.

details to follow.

Stat Thursday - faceoff %

really, some leagues do actually have this as a category. now it's a waste of stats imo but there is still some value to be seen here. for NHL teams that employ a puck control offense then faceoff % can be a valuable indicator of fantasy value. besides it's the only reason that Yanic Perreault still has an NHL job. did you realize that Perreault has led the world in faceoff % in the NHL for what 3 years running? i didn't actually look that up but given certain assumptions i believe i'm right on that one.
anywho. faceoff guys are on the ice in every situation, late in games and often with whatever offensive studs are around on their NHL squad. they get assists, their +/- is usually good and if they have a nose for the net then there's always the garbage rebound to look out for.
i'm hoping there's some fantasy value for you to see here reader. i go with some basic assumptions: i won't look at a guy who doesn't take at least 15% of his total team's faceoffs, otherwise he's not even considered among the top 5 C's on his own team; i won't look at a guy at this stage of the season who doesn't have at least 100 faceoffs to his credit, unless he was injured then i'll make some allowances; and finally i get the final say as to who i look at, you got a problem with that then feel free to suggest a fantasy option that i didn't look at and then defend it.

the first stat listed is faceoff% and the second stat is percentage of team faceoffs taken.

Yanic Perreault CHI (69.2)(17.6) - once again the world leader, the best faceoff man on the planet. he surprised the fantasy world with 19 goals in 49 games for Phoenix last year, was traded to the Leafs at the deadline and was good for 2 goals in 17 games for them last year. what does that say about Yanic? it says that he needs opportunity on the top lines in order to produce. as a Yote he got a chance to plug a few goals but as a Leaf he didn't get that chance, he was there to play a defensive forward role, and take some faceoffs in his own zone late in games. i think that he has value on a young team like the Hawks if they give him a shot at some ice time with their best forwards, that isn't happening. once again he's in a defensive role and his 4 pts in 16 games so far is showing why. now if you count F% as a category and you need a C4, then absolutely add him. otherwise, uh, not so much.

Randy Robitaille OTW (66.2)(13.1) - i note my first exception but the reason is that he's only played 9 games this season and yet has built up his % of total faceoffs to 13.1 already. Robitaille is a viable fantasy option for deeper leagues and has seen a spike in value of late because Jason Spezza has been injured for the last 4 games or so. Robitaille's 5 pts in 9 games will not continue at the same pace once Spezza is back, and he is. still, he's viable as a C4 where F% is considered.

Joe Thornton SJ (62.0)(32.4) - big Joe is a fantasy STUD. too often he gets forgotten because few east of his time zone stay up late to watch him work his magic. not only does he contribute to his team offensively more than any other guy on his entire coastline but also he takes one in three faceoffs and wins 2/3rds of those. if you're playing in a league with F% as a category then Joe should be drafted 1st overall. yes, i said it.

Manny Malhotra CBJ (61.1)(26.9) - i find it interesting that on a team with Mike Peca and Sergei Fedorov as main shutdown defensive forward options it is this guy who is the best dot man. to top it all off he's got 9 pts on the season, doesnt give the puck up and is pretty adept at takeaways. he's an interesting option but doesn't produce enough in other categories to be considered anything more than a C5.

Kyle Wellwood TOR (60.9)(10.3) - ok, another exception but i do so because i like this guy and people don't realize the value he can provide to a fantasy team. he could rank up there as a C3 and if he cashes in on the significant PP time that he's in line for then he could end up as a highly ranked C3. he's only played 4 games so far but if he's sitting on your waiver wire he's well worth a flyer, ok he's easily worth Derian Hatcher, he's a Flyer.

Michael Zigomanis PHX (60.3)(21.0) - not worth rostering in a fantasy league, especially if he only shoots once every couple weeks. but he can draw the puck though. he dominated Boston in the dot on Oct 6. still, move on.

Kris Draper DET (60.2)(27.7) - this is one of my fave defensive forwards in the game, and he was once traded for a buck; literally, it cost the Wings one dollar to get him from the Jets. it's curtains for Drapes as a high end offense option (did you like my turn of phrase there? aw, nuts it's wasted on you guys) but as a checking center he's still among the best around. he went through a very hot streak right at the beginning of the season and guys were actually talking about picking him up but in 99% of leagues that would be a wasted transaction. now if you count F% though, he's not a waste on your roster.

Bobby Holik ATL (58.3)(30.5) - i can just hear the boo-ing from my chair right now as every hockey fan in the New York area screams about how much of a waste of money this man is, well ok i think Islander fans are fine with other NY area teams wasting money. the fact is though, Holik does a lot for a hockey team, particularly one without a superstar C in the lineup. he gets his nose dirty and carries a large load of defensive responsibility for the Thrash so that snipers like Kovalchuk and Hossa can work their magic. he may not be well liked but he still has value as a C4 in a good season.

Chris Gratton TB (57.7)(19.2) - the buzz around Gratton when he first came on the NHL scene was that he could be Mark Messier one day. it turns out that he ... wasn't. he was to be a power forward who could beat you at the dot, beat you to the net and then beat you over the head as he raises his hands with the biscuit in the basket. now it turns out that he's just pretty good at the stuff in the dot. that still has value though since it's not like Tampa is devoid of talent so he just needs to win the draw, pass it to Marty, over to one of the Vinny's and instant second assist. still, it's probably just a pipe dream for Gratis at this stage.

Patrick Marleau SJ (57.7)(16.0) - is it any wonder that the Sharks don't like to employ much of a dump and chase offense if they can just employ more of a puck control offense. they have two of the best faceoff men in the league taking about half their draws total, of course they're going to have the puck a lot. i think it would be a mistake for the Sharks to trade Marleau anywhere, especially to the Habs (ptui) but maybe that's just me. Marleau has slumped huge this season but don't believe that will continue. in fact now could be a great time to offer up someone like Saku Koivu or Mike Comrie for him (dare i say).

that's the top 10 and i had to sort through 80 names to find them. the next 10 guys who qualify are pretty telling too.
Michael Peca (another Jacket, interesting), Antoine Vermette (about time a Senator hit the list), Chris Drury (well paid for a reason), Jarret Stoll (overlooked and underused fantasy resource), Jason Spezza (i have him in a keeper league, YAH for me), Rod Brind'amour (this guy does stuff like this EVERY year), Daymond Langkow (last season was not a blip, there's more to come), Sidney Crosby (i hear he's pretty good), Boyd Gordon (who?), Henrik Zetterberg (also pretty good but really who's that Gordon guy?), Mats Sundin, Scott Gomez, and then we start back into names that you don't want to hear about. if you thought i was trying to say that Boyd Gordon is worth looking into ... i wasn't. i consider myself to be fairly well versed in the NHL and there's no way that i'd even do a search to find out who Gordon is right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TJ's Tigers

hi once again folks. this week's team review is the fantasy team of a long time reader. i reviewed his team last year while writing for; his name is Tim but he goes by TJ. if i remember correctly TJ is a Windsor Ontario boy but i could be wrong about that and if i am then i hope he forgives me on it. the important part of the transaction here is the team review so if he's more anonymous than he needs to be then that only helps him as he tries to finagle his way to a championship.
TJ plays in a points league. i hate points leagues. sorry TJ, it's not about you. i just find them to be arbitrary and hard to evaluate unless i want to design a logarhythm that reflects the entire NHL based on the arbitrary numbers that this league sets, and i definitely don't have time for that. however, TJ gives me the impression that he's run some of his own numbers in the past so it doesn't seem all that necessary to run my own. i expect that i'll talk about trends and opportunity more than i will look at hard stats and i'll let TJ use his own hockey sense to craft his way to a winning formula.
ok, the point structure. he plays in a 16 team H2H at CBSSportsline and on a related note, i really like the engine at Sportsline although i find their FA search options cumbersome. TJ's league requires you to pay by the transaction which really makes you stop and question each move before you make it. it's an interesting way for them to generate income but at the same time, guys are naturally going to limit their moves over the course of the season and consequently end up paying less attention to their team. maybe that's just me though. where was i? oh yeah, the points. they play 8F's, 4D's, and a tandem goalie (where whoever is in net for that team on that day earns stats for your fantasy team) with a 6 man bench and no IR option. starting players earn you points like this:

FWD G=1, A=1, PPG=1, SHG=3, GWG=1, SHOG=0.5, HT=5, PSG=10, PIM (min=1, maj=2, misc=3)

DEF G=2, SHG=6, HT=10, PSG=20, remainder same.

GOAL W=2, SO=4, GA=(-0.5), OTW=1, SHOW=0.5, SV=0.1, A=3, PIM same as others.

see why i don't like evaluating points leagues? some quick thoughts that hit me when i saw the structure are that PIMs in particular are harder to evaluate since each different type of PIM is worth a different amount; defensive goals raise the value of D a good chunk, and special teams play is incredibly valuable. what the point in having so many points for a penalty shot goal i'll never be able to determine.
at present TJ is 3rd in his four team division with a 3-3 record. he can set his lineup weekly. let's take a look.

C Rod Brind'amour (B+) CAR - i've read some reports that guys think the game is about to pass him by and the fantasy player should trade him while he still has value. Rod is fine and i'd still expect 80 pts out of him this season.
C Brian Rolston (B+) MIN - the forgotten option in the Wild attack. responsible 2 way play and he's on the ice in every crucial situation.
W Andrew Brunette (B) COL - he's just been moved up to the top line so expect his stats to increase relatedly.
W Marian Hossa (A) ATL - the man is a monster. hold tight and wait for him, it's been pretty tumultuous around this team so far this year.
W Trent Hunter (C) NYI - gotta say, not a fan and wouldn't be starting him.
W Brendan Morrow (B+) DAL - he'll score and should get PIMs which is a bonus. i think he's your best trading chip, by far.
W Chris Neil (B) OTW - i freely admit that i love this guy in all formats, especially ones that reward PIMy play.
W Ryan Smyth (A-) COL - all he does is score. well worth rostering all season and it would take a glorious offer for you to move him out.
D Francois Beauchemin (C) ANA - off the top of the season he led the world in ice time but i said at the time that it wouldn't continue. now that Schneider is back and with Niedermayer talking about returning again then Beau drops a good deal down the depth chart. i'd be shopping him pretty strongly.
D Zdeno Chara (B+) BOS - he'll get bonus PIMs for you and he'll pocket his share of goals. i like him in this format.
D Cory Murphy (B) FLA - special teams stats galore, particularly PPP. he hurt his shoulder last night so you might want to keep an open eye on news for him in the very near future.
D Marek Zidlicky (B-) NAS - phenomenal year for a couple seasons then an off year last year. i think he takes a back seat to Shea Weber for all of his career if he stays in Nashville but that doesn't mean he doesn't have value.
G Philadelphia Flyers (A-) PHI - Martin Biron is arguably a fantasy MVP candidate so far this season and we still haven't heard from a quality goaltender like Antero Niitymaki yet this season.
BN Paul Gaustad (C) BUF - there's upside here and the Sabres need C's who'll contribute. Gaust looks to be in a prime spot to help out if only for the short term.
BN Mark Parrish (C+) MIN - definitely a secondary scoring type of player. if given ice time he'll contribute some but not the sort that you want to start regularly in your league.
BN Ville Peltonen (D) FLA - your weakest forward imo. i doubt i'd have occasion to ever start him if i ever had occasion to roster him.
BN Mikael Samuelsson (B-) DET - i wouldn't be surprised to see him break 50 pts on the season this year and given the opportunities in Hockeytown then i'd even go so far as to say that i EXPECT him to break 50 pts this season.
BN Dustin Byfuglien (D+) CHI - well, he's young and he's contributed plenty with his AHL team. i've seen him play when he visited my local AHL team. he has some opportunity and the path seems more clear for him to keep getting opportunity. he's not much of a viable start at the moment but he might be one day, maybe tomorrow ... ok maybe next month.
BN Petteri Nummelin (D+) MIN- fringe D who's getting PPTOI right now because the offensive options in Minny all have sore groins from too much scoring (or something to that effect). when the better scoring options return then Nummelin's opportunity will disappear.

ok, well i'm not nuts for an awful lot here. the Flyers as your tandem goalie will continue to be a very fine option for you. i like Cory Murphy on your D and see the fact that he's so involved in special teams play as a bonus for your squad. PIMy options are hard to figure but it looks like a guy who'll get his nose right into the middle of things gets some success in this system. if that trend continues then Neil and Chara have some extra value, particularly Neil. i'm going to suggest you shop around for better goal scoring options although i'd be careful offering up Neil to anyone, shop Morrow instead. most of your starting forwards are very much underrated or haven't really shown what they can do yet. they will though. they will. i don't really like your bench at all.
you need to beef up your offensive D and you need at least one more goal scoring forward. you have at your disposal some guys who've had hot starts that can be shopped and you have some power forward options that you can trade.

Waiver Wire Options

Jozef Stumpel FLA - Olli Jokinen is a star in Miami and nobody knows him there. the best option he has on his line is Jozef Stumpel if one assumes that Nathan Horton heads up another scoring line. Stumpy (i wonder if he hates that nickname) can help a fantasy team.
Jiri Hudler DET - Hudler is one of the hottest PP options available over the last couple weeks. consider the hot hand and ride that out.
Jochen Hecht BUF - somebody has to center their talented forwards and right now it's looking like Hecht has the most talent out of the guys available (until Tim Connolly returns). i like Hecht's 2 way responsible play.
Nigel Dawes NYR - getting ice time with various big guns and was among their most consistent forwards while Avery was on the shelf.
Randy Jones PHI - consistent play. gets PP time and contributes with hard nosed play.
Brendan Witt NYI - PIMs galore, solid defensive play and the occasional point.
Kevin Bieksa VAN - yes i realize he's in a full leg cast and will be no use to you until February or so, i just want you to keep him on your radar in a league like this where his game can really help your team.

add Randy Jones for Petteri (hello) Nummelin - i realize that you really like Nummelin right now and that his PP options are through the roof at the moment but i think it's a mirage. once Minny's big guns are all back in the lineup then i expect that the point on the PP will be manned by Burns and probably Rolston. Nummelin will still get PP2 access but i don't see his contributions continuing like they have been of late. if you hate this idea then i'm fine with dropping Bfugly instead or even turfing Peltonen and just running with a bench full of D options.

Trading Options

trade Brendan Morrow to 67 Leafs for Bryan McCabe - i took a gander at your "trading block" and noted that McCabe was on it. you need offensive/PIMy D and McCabe is traditionally one of the best in the game. his only knock in my book is horrid defensive play so the +/- will continue to be brutal this season but that doesn't matter in your system. he can contribute everywhere to your team. you've already started working this angle and i like the direction you're going here. keep that up.

trade Brendan Morrow and Francois Beauchemin to Flaming Leafs for Tomas Kaberle and Mathieu Schneider - these guys are also on the block in your league and they each would provide you with what you need for your team. Flamer is looking for a top forward and Morrow may get you there. Kaberle and Schneider will be key to each of their own team's attack over the course of the season and you might be able to steal them away from their owner if he's asleep at the switch.

trade Brendan Morrow to Kanes Killers for Simon Gagne - i'm hoping that the extra toughness that Morrow offers could land you the goal scoring potential that Gagne would give you. you take a bit of a risk in this offer since Gagne got rocked last week and missed 4 games with concussion symptoms. if you were to get this though then you've got yourself a significant forward to slot into the lineup every week.

trade Brendan Morrow to Dr C for Sheldon Souray - Souray will return this week, perhaps today (Wednesday) and as far as PIMy D who'll pocket goals are concerned there aren't many better than Souray in all of the game. this'd be sweet if you get it.

trade Paul Gaustad and Francois Beauchemin to Skin Flutes for Filip Kuba and Mike Fisher - i took a look at this offer through the trade evaluator on the system and it shows you giving up too much to acquire these guys. let me argue for it anyway though. Beauchemin's contributions will drop like a stone now that Schneider is back in the fold and Niedermayer is talking about returning soon, and a guy like Mike Fisher looks to be solidifying himself on the top line so that Ottawa can balance their attack on a couple lines. i like Gaustad this season and do see that he's on the cusp of contributing but still i think this deal is better for you. Kuba shoots the puck a lot by the way and with Dan Boyle shelved in Tampa then somebody has to be the man on the point for the Lightning.


look at it this way, your best player has only just woken up offensively and you've still managed to stay .500 on the season so far. that's good news. Marian Hossa is an offensive monster who WILL break the 100 pt barrier on the season again. your secondary scoring is enough to keep you afloat, by offsetting your fantasy points and adding some PIMy fantasy points you help yourself and your goaltending is going to keep you afloat all year. what you need to search for is trading for another scoring forward and upgrading your D to add some tough play along with some points, particularly on special teams. defensive play is less important when you're looking for a D upgrade and that's why i've tried to target some crooked nose options for trade that'll help your offensive output (particularly goals) and throw in some PIMs. this'll work.
good luck TJ.

Monday, November 12, 2007

PP possibles and walking wounded

Jiri Hudler is getting some nice ice time of late, scored 2 pts for himself yesterday and was even on the ice with Zetterberg on occasion. some are preaching his virtues but i point out that he's a mid-teen goals guy who just on a hot streak of late. he's a short term add while he's hot and that's on the hope that the streak continues. i'm not a believer beyond the short term though.

Dustin Bfuglien is seeing some PP time too. with all the rumour of the Hawks looking for a PP option on their D then it could just be that they go with this kid for a while longer. he's only been a callup this month and has 2 pts in the 5 games he's been in. it could be that he's one of the guys being shopped in an attempt to land a PP defense guy (i'm looking at you Bryan McCabe but let me also point out that it would take a lot more than Bfugly to a fugly defensive option like McCabe).
Jason Williams is quietly contributing on the PP for the Hawks.

there has been a lot of chatting about Peter Stastny this season, and rightly so, but i think another of the nice PP options that the Avs can throw out there is Wojtek Wolski. he's a 50 pt guy from last year that should stay at about the same level but if the chemistry continues to develop with Stastny then the upside is pretty huge. whatever happened to Marek Svatos as an offensive option? Andrew Brunette has apparently been moved up to the top line. Ian Laperriere is gone for a month with a sprained knee. i sprained a knee a couple winters ago and it was easily a month before i could walk without a limp; i can't imagine playing professional hockey and taking on goons a month after a sprain.

also on the injury front Pavol Kubina blew out a knee too and won't be heard from for more than a month. that's going to mean that the Leafs can't really move a D without getting a viable option back. Marian Gaborik still isn't ready to go and that will inflate the value of lesser lights like Mikko Koivu and Pierre Marc Bouchard as they get more opportunity.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Peace Sunday and Remembrance Day

rarely does Remembrance Day fall on a Sunday so we dealt with Peace Sunday at church while stopping to remember too. the below is taken from a poem/teaching by Sri Chinmoy and the very bottom is an old Celtic blessing that was given as we departed.

We invent war. We discover peace.
We invent war from without.
We discover peace from within.
The smile of war is the flood of human blood.
The smile of peace is the love, below and above.
Peace is the whole truth that wishes to enrapture humanity.
War is the whole falsehood that wants to capture humanity.
Peace begins in the soul and ends in the heart.
War begins in the mind and ends in the body.
War forgets peace. Peace forgives war.
War is the death of the life human. Peace is the birth of the Life Divine.
War is clear futility in dire spear-stupidity.
Peace is flowing infinity in glowing eternity.
We seek war when we think that the world is not ours.
We invite war when we feel that we can conquer the world.
We proclaim war when we dream
that the world has already surrendered to us.
We seek peace because our earthly existence desperately needs it.
We welcome peace because we feel
that in peace alone is our life of achievement and fulfillment.
We spread peace because Christ has transcended death.
The darkness in us wars against peace in the outer world,
in the world of conflicting ideas.
The Christ in us wars against ignorance in the inner world,
in the world of mounting ideals.
The darkness in us wants war for the sake of war,
war to devour the sleeping world.
The Christ in us wants peace for the sake of peace,
peace to feed the hungry world.

Peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the shades of night to you,
Moon and stars always giving light to you,
Deep peace of Christ, the Son of Peace, to you.

Sunday morning armchair

how about them Kings!?! they set a franchise record for the fastest 5 goals by coming back from 4-0 in the last 7 1/2 minutes of the game, taking the lead, losing the lead and then winning in overtime. i wonder how many folks left at ten minutes of the 3rd with the game well in hand in Dallas. really i do. i suspect that some fantasy players are pretty down on Marty Turco after his last two starts being the stinkers they have been but Turc is still an elite goalie and the Stars do know how to play defense. that would've been an exciting 15 minutes of hockey but unfortunately, i was asleep and probably so were you.

ok, i went to see "3:10 to Yuma" last night at the cheapie theatre here in town. it was pretty good actually. i like Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and it was a flick of badasses and bit of redemption. if you're looking for something to do some evening it's a good move.

Montreal hoped to make a move on the best team in the division yesterday afternoon by using their power play. it turned out that their "moves" got rebuffed and Senators aren't necessarily attracted to power since they have their own. a couple fantasy things i noticed in this game; Tomas Plekanec is on the 2nd line with Alex Kovalev and if he has any influence with Kovalev then he'll do all he can to keep him happy. i've never really like Plekanec as a fantasy option but the fact that the Montreal PP has been so good so far makes him a consideration for any team looking for PPP (and who isn't). Kovalev has a load of enigmatic talent that sometimes explodes onto the ice and when it does, you want to be there because you'll get a piece of it. Koivu is by far the heart of that team and in fact got an assist yesterday (and was -3) in a losing attempt. Cristobal Huet got the start and i still say that the Habs are going to shop him and just hand the job to Carey Price but in the meantime why not ride the hot hand eh? Martin Gerber got the start at the other end and has certainly been showing more than Ray Emery this season, that fact alone has been killing me in my work league where i've had to rely on Emery and MA Fleury (who hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire either). Alffy with 2 goals and Chris Neil with a goal and 4 PIMs.
i actually only saw the first few minutes of the Hall of Fame game (Toronto hosting NYR) last night but actually the opening ceremonies was very cool. Hall of Famers galore were on the ice shaking hands with the new HOFers as they came on the ice and then they brought on a couple WW2 vets and some present servicemen as a Remembrance Day thing. the private who sang the national anthems absolutely KILLED, that was phenomenal. Sean Avery, Brendan Shanahan and Alexei Ponikorovsky were the stars of the stat sheet here. it looks like Nigel Dawes has been removed from playing with Shanny and replaced by Sean Avery, obviously Avery is going to return to his full value this season and i say 30 goals and 200 PIMs.
Ondrej Pavelec may just take the starter's job away in Atlanta until such time that Kari Lehtenin returns to the ice and Marian Hossa is waking up folks. Carolina was just too much for Atlanta though with Rod the bod getting 2 goals and Cory Stillman with a goal and 2 assists. it is interesting to me that the Canes are doing all this without a single dominating contribution from a defenseman. they run out an all forward PP roster and it's working for them.
i think Chris Campoli can be the puck moving D that i was saying was SO incredibly needed on NHL teams. i think he'll drop off though as soon as Bryan Berard returns so you might want to move on him now (short term). DiP is an elite goalie that doesnt get enough love and all he does is see rubber and stop it.
Philly had 3 PP goals and a shortie as they showed Pitt how it's done in the battle of Penn yesterday. Kimmo Timonen is workmanlike and very much a viable D2 for any fantasy team. i've ragged on Mike Knuble a bit in the recent past since i thought i saw him slipping down the depth chart but that doesn't seem to be so, he's still contributing with plenty of ice time and stats. Joffrey Lupul does seem to have replaced him on the depth chart though (he went 1 and 1 last night). both guys bear watching. Sid the kid extended his pts scoring streak last night, YAWN, he's got so much talent that i forget that 1 assist in a rough and tumble game is enough when it's also a concern that you leave with your head still attached. there was some sort of mixup with Jason Smith yesterday and he's not a guy you want to mess with.
Tom Poti got 2 assists last night and may end up becoming the lynchpin in the Caps PP once everyone is back and contributing (yes i'm talking to you Mr. Semin). Filip Kuba is very much underrated as a triggerman in Tampa and is a good addition to any fantasy team because he shoots and gets plenty of PP opportunity. this just in, the Lightning can light the lamp.
the Sabres lost one to the Bruins last night and Marco Sturm and (up)Chuck Kobasew each scored their 7th of the season. i can't believe that Kobasew is getting a chance, i've never liked him as an option after all those seasons of failure in Calgary but well, he's getting a shot at some decent ice time so don't continue to ignore him. some of the 10 shots that Jason Pominville took yesterday will start to go in, i peg him for 30 goals on the season. Jochen Hecht is a fine two way player.
Nikolai Zherdev can't be ignored any longer. he's being counted on in C-bus and is back to being a good enough RW3 option for a fantasy team. i want to like Jordan Tootoo and Radek Bonk but i just can't. i can't believe that a no-name defense like the Jackets, with rejects like Hainsey and Klesla on it, actually succeeds so far this season. if you're looking for a reason for why they're so good, look no farther than coach Ken Hitchcock and his defensive system.
don't get me started on Miikka Kiprusoff. he'll turn it around. can't believe the Oilers beat him last night. it does look like Robert Nilsson had a nice night and that might garner some more ice time but still in an important game against your provincial rival you shouldn't be coughing up 4 goals, especially when the other guys put their backup in net.
in truth, i dropped Peter Mueller a couple weeks ago. he was doing nothing at the time but it now seems that he's had himself a great week. 6 pts in 3 games is a nice week for anyone but your coach Mr. Mueller. it seems that a little chemistry is developing with a chameleon like Steve Reinprecht who always seems to pop up on the stat sheet when guys with more talent aren't on the team or are injured. anyway, after i dropped Mueller a couple wks back someone snapped him up after his hattie earlier this week. if he's there and you have a bench slot or a C4 spot available or if you're in a keeper league then look at Mueller now, kid's got serious skills. Devin Seto(kaiba)guchi got 18 mins of ice time and is still getting a serious look amongst the top lines in SJ.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

puck moving D

defensemen are a different breed. i was thinking about that as i watched the Leafs beat the Sabres last night. every NHL team has a handful of guys whose main job description is as a shutdown D, they don't necessarily get you many pts or fantasy stats but they are crucial to NHL hockey; every NHL team has at least one good triggerman D; i usually find that they can be a detriment to their team defensively though; and finally every NHL team looks for a puck moving D, these guys are invaluable. the traditional guy that i think of when considering this type of guy is, Paul Coffey. he's usually a great skater, a precise passer and he's not known for playing a tough game. one guy that i used to notice here in Winnipeg was Phil Housley but i think that's because it cost the Jets Dale Hawerchuk to get Housley and that price tag is very high.
anyway, present NHL guys who are invaluable to their teams are guys in the Scott Niedermayer mould. i was thinking about how we still hadn't seen great contributions out of Tomas Kaberle this year, Bryan Berard went unsigned and then hurt, Tom Poti has yet to be heard from, Mark Streit and Tobias Enstrom are still relative unknowns, and Brent Burns may turn into too large a player to be considered for this type of role.
the reason i bring it up today is because Brian Campbell had what i thought was a phenomenal game for the Sabres last night. i think he was the only Sabre who was awake for the game. there were flashes out of Tomas Vanek, and Paul Gaustad but overall Campbell carried the load for what would be an eventual lost cause. the Sabres never did score on the night but Campbell was the 3rd star, and rightly so.
there has been some concern about the Sabres offense and my reaction to that is ... great offensive players wake up as they get help from the rearguard. Vanek is on pace for 20 something goals this season but i have no doubts that he'll end up closer to 40. wonder why? because Brian Campbell is going to find ways to feed him. if you want to help your fantasy team then zero in on a puck moving defenseman and then trade for him. some of the guys listed above are even sitting on waiver wires in your league. Campbell won't be.

Friday, November 9, 2007

last day of work

no, not me, i still have miles to go before i sleep. i'm actually talking about the bus driver on my transit bus this morning. today is his last day and he retires to an RV and travelling in and around Florida. why bring this up? well, there was a retirement in the hockey world that has mixed up some pretty mirky opinion of late. Eric "the next one" Lindros hung them up officially yesterday after a 13 year career. he was never the best player on the planet although he did manage to win the Hart trophy once, i think that over his best years that the best player on the planet was none other than Mario Lemieux.
does he belong in the Hall of Fame? that seems to be a major question of late and quite frankly, it's a tiring question. if he meant something to you as a hockey fan then you undoubtedly think he belongs in the hall. if he doesn't mean something to you as a fan then perhaps he doesn't. i think if you look at the stats then you have to allow him in but at the same time there are peripheral stuff that always pissed me off about him so i'm not quite so sure that if i had a vote (and i don't) that i'd write his name down.
i remember when he was an Oshawa General and i was a regular attendee of the Kitchener Rangers games. it was 1990 and he single-handedly eliminated the Rangers to advance to the Memorial Cup. i got to see him absolutely destroy the Rangers' captain Steven Rice in an open ice bodycheck that i didn't think Rice would ever get up from and i knew then, Lindros would be special.
he forced a trade from Sault Ste. Marie to his hometown Oshawa team rather than play where he didn't want to play and that was to become a common theme for Eric. he wouldn't play in Quebec (he should've, just imagine that team later with both Sakic, Eric and Sundin to go with some passing stars at the end of their careers) and forced a trade anywhere else. i remember being annoyed that anyone could think they were bigger than the entire system before they had earned the right to choose what earth they were planted in. he was traded to Philly and NYR on the same day, a move which eventually doomed the Nordiques franchise and made them look bush, but i say that Eric needs to take some of the blame for the mess that was those trade sessions. he eventually was moved to Philly where he along with Leclair and Renberg formed what was probably the most dangerous line of the '90s. the first half of the '90s belonged to him and his cronies. "he lived and died by the sword" as i read someone else blog about him today. he threw bodies around, and it wasn't always his own body that got tossed about like it was a toy sailboat on the ocean. unfortunately, that was his downfall.
the brain inside a skull moves about as it is impacted upon. there's real truth to the metaphor of getting your brains scrambled, that's pretty much what happens with a concussion, it's like whisking an egg inside your skull. i mention this because i still remember the hit that Eric absorbed from Scott Stevens in the playoffs. he had just come back from concussion related stuff and Stevens absolutely crushed him crossing the blueline with his head down. it was one of those shots that brings you right out of your seat, and that's exactly what happened to me. Stevens was seen very emotional between periods knowing that he may've just ended E's career, and well Eric wasn't the same after that hit. he moved on to the Rangers and wasn't the same. he signed with the Leafs and the Stars and wasn't even close to the same.
so ... to the question then: does Eric belong in the Hall? who cares? if you thought he was great (and for a while i thought he was great) then he belongs in the Hall. if you didn't think he was great and was a bit of a tool (and for a while i thought this of him too) then maybe he doesn't belong in the Hall. in the end, does it really matter to me? no. i'm still a fan and he did give me enjoyment over the course of 13 seasons.
he'll get in the Hall. i may not love him like i've read some bloggers and their man-crushes but he gave me enjoyment of the game as a fan. that's enough for me. fit him for a plaque.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stat Thursday - SHTOI/game

one of my pet peeves about reviewing different fantasy leagues is when they start to add the obscure categories into the settings. scarcity makes the obscure so that there's little to differentiate the different squads in the league. if 20 SHP can win you a category then the fact that they happen so seldom is reason for me not to include them in the settings in the first place. i feel the same way about counting shutouts as a category. a goalie that gets 15 shutties could lead the world in the category and a fantasy team with that goalie will most likely win the category too. that's 12 potential points that i don't want to hand over to someone because scarcity shone on them.
now having said that, i don't include SHP in any of the leagues that i set up, but i realize that a lot of foolish commishes do. so i'm dedicating today's stat Thursday to SHTOI, particularly as it relates to PPTOI since the guy you're really going to want to target is the guy with high SHTOI while still gets plenty of PPTOI. i havent taken a real good look but i suspect that we're going to see a lot of defensemen on this list, maybe a couple surprises too. once again though, i'm not looking strictly at SHTOI but rather how it is also reflected in PPTOI. the first nubmer will be SHTOI/game followed by PPTOI/game.

Niklas Lidstrom (5:23)(5:12) - wow. the man does everything. he's 3rd in SHTOI/game and 26th in PPTOI/game. he is truly a horse and if you're playing in a fantasy league that takes into account the special teams categories then he is an absolute must add, must draft, must trade for type of guy.

Pavel Kubina (4:51)(4:09) - you think he might have some extra value to the Leafs D line? i actually blogged on him pretty badly yesterday but part of that was out of frustration when the Leafs were the chihuahua in a dogfight the night before in Ottawa. i don't hate you Pavel, honest. if the Leafs are busy shopping D-men then i'm fine with moving Bryan McCabe to Chicago (that's one rumour that came out yesterday) so a couple kids. there are some really nice youthful options to consider in Chicago. in the meantime, the Leafs nation doesn't hate you Pavel. they may hate JFJ but they don't hate you. incidentally, if the Leafs do trade McCabe then Kubina's value goes up a bunch since he'll be the triggerman on the PP.

Rob Blake (4:40)(4:01) - Rob Blake kills penalties? yep, dear reader. and he's not as old and decrepid as you might think. i project him for goals in the teens this season again and it certainly will be good for Jack Johnson to see the type of quality career he can have. Blake can be traded for fairly easily because people believe that LA will continue to struggle at both ends of the ice this season and they think that Blake is washed up. he isn't and he'd be a fine D3 on any fantasy roster, particularly in a league that counts special teams categories.

Dan Hamhuis (4:40)(3:44) - i think this relationship will drop whenever Shea Weber returns to the lineup and eats up almost all of Ham's PPTOI. he's a good short term option until Weber is back though and there are still some trade rumours swirling around him. just imagine if he were moved to NYR or something where they need a PP option.

Chris Pronger (4:32)(6:45) - Pronger is a horse and any trade offer you make for him better include your right nut and the person on the other end would have to want to consider that an option. those numbers will stay pretty much like that all year.

Tom Poti (4:18)(5:50) - the Caps signed Poti to be a PP QB for them, to pass the puck down low and let the big guns do their thing. Alexander Semin and Chris Clark haven't been able to get anything going for the Caps this season but when everything is put together then you'll see plenty of offense in Landover. Poti will ride those coattails all season. there's even a chance that he's sitting on your waiver wire and if he is then go get him now, particularly in special teams category leagues.

Bryan McCabe (4:18)(4:51) - hmmm. i've always liked McCabe as a PP option but i'm not a fan of his defensive play at all. i also would like to see defenders while SH having more lateral movement than McCabe shows. but i'm not the coach. McCabe is going to contribute a bunch on the PP, i guarantee that, and he's getting opportunity while SH too.

Marc-Eduoard Vlasic (4:16)(2:41) - so Pickle is getting PP2 time, he's still a good option, he's young and learning and as he gets better that PPTOI is going to explode. keepers should look at this guy and special teams category leagues should see him as a viable D... 4 maybe?

Jay Bouwmeester (4:14)(4:10) - with the emergence of Cory Murphy in FLA this season people seem to forget that Bo carried the bulk of the load last season and he's doing so again. now it's not like Meester Bo is sitting on your waiver wire for you to add him but you can certainly consider him a very strong D3 (maybe D2) option if you wanted to put a trade offer in to his present owner.

Francois Beauchemin (4:09)(6:46) - those PPTOI stats are going to come down a LOT now that Mathieu Schneider is healthy and back on the ice. in general his total ice time is going to come down a lot. he still has value but he went from a D3 to a D5 as soon as Schneid got off the schneid.

Kim Johnsson (3:49)(1:22) - i talk a lot about Brent Burns whenever i seem to discuss the Wild's defensemen but i Johnsson is still a good option for a bottom of the roster D, particularly if you count the special teams cats. do you know any dude by the name of Kim though? i actually know a guy who's middle name is Kim and, well he doesn't tell anybody that. that's probably wise, i'm pretty much a pacifist but right now i figure i could pop him on the schnoz and get away with it.

Sergei Gonchar (3:45)(6:26) - Gonchar is a great resource for PPP that comes at a price that isn't too over the top if you were thinking of making a move. it could be that he gets so much SHTOI because there aren't better options available to take the opportunity away from him.

Jaroslav Spacek (3:45)(4:27) - i reviewed a team that had Spacek on it a couple weeks ago and i remember saying that i'm not a big fan of his. i sure hope i didn't tell you to dump him and if i did make that foolish statement then i hope you ignored it. dude contributes at both ends of the ice and one can never just throw away a good resource.

Brad Stuart (3:44)(3:14) - i have Stuart on one team that is a bit short on PPP at the moment. i offered him up for a backup goaltender this week and the guy is thinking that i'm shorting him on the deal. no, i just really think that this guy will contribute. we already see he's getting opportunity on special teams and with opportunity WILL come stats.

Brett Clark (3:44)(2:54) - this is another guy who doesn't get enough play. he's a 40 pt D who gets plenty of special teams opportunity with an excellent offensive team. he got 10 goals last year and solidified his spot amongst the top D on the Avs. he can be traded for at a good price.

Paul Martin (3:43)(4:51) - i don't get how the Prime Minister gets so much PP time but somebody has to do it. he's not among my fave options for special teams stats but like i said, with opportunity will come stats.

Rod Brind'amour (3:42)(4:34) - and here we get to the first forward worth mentioning on this list. he's not the first forward's name i came across but i had my reasons for not including the one other guy who came up on the list. Rod the bod leads by example. dude works out forever and will kick your butt if you're not able to keep up with a guy whose got nearly 20 years on you. he kills penalties and he makes you pay for taking them. he can also be traded for a little more easily than your typical superstar.

Brent Sopel, Rob Niedermayer and Brian Campbell are the next names on the list but it's only worth noting that Campbell is the only one of the 3 that you want for your team. rumour is that he'll re-sign in Buffalo at some time this season by the way and that is a very wise move on the part of the Sabres.

gots to get back to work folks. i hope you enjoyed the romp thru Stat Thursday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the Leafs D is brutal

no team review today by the way, but let me just say that if you want some hints on how to make your fantasy team better then fire off an email to me (check out the profile to see my email addy).

anywho, the title of this post remains ... gospel. i'm a Leaf fan. i'll remain a Leaf fan. HOWEVER, how is it that the Sens can pull off at least three 2on1's starting at the Leafs blueline last night? seriously, it literally looked like the D was tripping over their own blueline. Wozniewski got burned once, really badly; and i have zero confidence in the defensive play of Pavel Kubina (waste of a contract). i think that Woz will be fine but with all the chat surrounding the Leafs D of late, with all the hubbub of "let's get rid of so and so" then let me just say, the signing of Pavel Kubina was a horrid move. how he is a plus player this season i don't know. the rumour has been that JFJ has been shopping Bryan McCabe, Hal Gill and Kubina around but they each pull down a lot of money and i have my doubts that any of them will be moved. should they trade Kaberle? LORD NO. but if they can move McCabe/Stajan for Liles/Svatos or Wolski then that looks good to me. i'm not crazy about shopping Alex Steen through the league though, he's worth keeping around. remember that JFJ.
i read one report of the game last night saying that it looked like a bulldog against a chihuahua. yep, that's about right. the Leafs gave up what 3 goals(?) on 2on1 stuff deep in their own zone. shameful. against a great counter-punching team like the Sens who knows how to capitalize (pun intended) then there's little hope of success once the hole is already dug. the 3rd goal that went in was even SHORTHANDED for crying out loud.
i'm just going to over to my corner and whimper for a while but before i do let me just vent for a bit about the lack of hockey coverage that i want here in central Canada. last night the battle of Ontario raged and was televised on Sportsnet, for Ontario only. we here in Sportsnet West's domain were treated to a nice version of Prime Time Sports which if i wanted to hear i could just tune in on my radio to hear it. why is it that the Leafs can't be on a national scale at least on nights when none of the Western teams even have a game? i pretty much can only watch a Leafs game on Saturday nights anymore, and Ontario is only 2 hrs drive away for me. i hate this system. now if i wanted to pony up a couple hundred bucks i could land the NHL channels and get all the hockey i wanted but my wife isn't going to allow that when we have a huge mortgage to pay and a life to live (and no i'm not bitter about it, i agree with her). all i'm asking for is a few extra Eastern team's games on tv, especially if the sched doesn't list a single game in the West to peruse. and while i'm on the subject, i'm tired of all the Western emphasis on the Flames and Oilers out here. it's just as easy to pick up an Eastern feed for a cable channel as it is to pick up a Western feed. or if channels in Manitoba want to pick up a hockey feed from somewhere then how about the closest NHL team to Manitoba? how about some more Wild games, i'd even take Hawk games for crying out loud instead of this constant diet of Oil and Flame (not a good mix)(BOOM).

in other games last night Rick DiPietro returned from his brief scrape of the eye to hold back the Ranger attack last night. i noticed that Nigel Dawes is still getting some ice time although it does seem to have dropped a little. he got 5 shots off though and that's significant given the fact that he was on the ice for half the time as the big guns. Chris Drury scored his 3rd (about freaking time) and Chris Simon was back for the Isles while Sean Avery got an assist for blueshirts. Simon is still a very nice PIMy option but he won't score a ton and Avery will give you plenty of both.
Pavelic showed himself well last night against the Caps. i still say that Johan Hedberg will be the main option for the Thrash until Lehtinen comes back but Pavelic is a decent enough option to get a handful of wins for a team that has turned it around. Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 13th and has had himself a phenomenal week. i hope you bought low on him a couple weeks back when i told you that he was going to explode. Marian Hossa has yet to explode so the window of opportunity is still open on him if you want to look at trading for him immediately though. incidently, Kovalchuk doubled over in pain last night in the 2nd period, skated off the ice under his own power and was done for the night. i don't think it's serious but i also haven't heard more about it. he's having a MRI today and actually said he can't move right now. not good. maybe Hossa will pick things up so they can keep teh ball rolling. Semin didn't play for the Caps last night and is frustrating many a fantasy hockey owner so far this season. now is not the time to bail on him though. Slava Kozlov has 7 pts in his last 5 games.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

to veto or not to veto

this is a sore spot in any fantasy league. the veto has wide-ranging views attached to it. if you've ever played fantasy sports then you know what can happen whenever a trade comes through that you don't think is "fair". some guys get all bent out of shape because a trade helps their closest competition and in so doing, it hurts them. some don't see why others "trade for need", which is often a necessity. if you've ever played in a keeper league then you more than sometimes see a "dump trade" as somebody tries to solidify his chances at next year while throwing away his chances at this year. the dump trade is often called collusive but let me just say, it isn't.
the veto is evil. it's a fickle bitch that will bite you on the ass the next time you try to improve your team through a trade. you want to hurt your league then go ahead and veto a trade simply because it hurts you. you just know that the next deal you make (and probably many more) is going to get at least one veto attached to it. it'll be attached out of spite, regardless of whether or not the deal itself is fair.
i commish our work league(s) and i'm very up-front with everyone prior to the start of each season; if you want to trade then be sure that you want to that trade since i'm adverse to coming to your rescue with a trade veto. if you make a mistake and hit the wrong button then that's another story or if you flat out tell me that you're cheating in some way so your buddy can win, then i'll veto, otherwise everything goes through. the only vetos that should occur are because of collusion or a manual error. in other words, unless somebody's cheating then everyone has the right to run their team the way they see fit.
what of league integrity? what of fairness to everyone? sour grapes and immaterial discussions. if you think that a trade is unfair, or somebody's getting fleeced then why do you allow a sheep in your league in the first place? are you angry that someone got shafted or that you weren't the one getting a great deal? in most cases people veto a deal because they think it makes one team too strong. well let me ask you this, did the NHL veto the Thornton trade because the Bruins are idiots and it made the Sharks too strong? of course not. the NHL made their choices when they allowed franchises into the fold and if an organization makes decisions that run themselves into the ground then so be it.
Self-determination is a social work concept but it has it's play in this field too. put simply it's the concept that the individual has the right to choose his/her own path. they do, and you do too. you want to make choices that affect you, go ahead and make them. my opinion of your choices is immaterial since i don't have to live with your choices. so why get bent out of shape because some hockey newb gets virtually brutalized on the trading table? you don't have to live with his choices, he does. and your view that a deal isn't fair comes down to sour grapes. if you could make a great deal for yourself and you were sure that the guy across the table from you wanted the deal itself, would you do it? of course you would. so essentially you get bent out of shape because you didn't get to a great deal for yourself before the other guy did. that's the game we play.
numerous times i hear how any potential deal needs to be fair in order for it to go through but i say NO. any potential deal needs to be fair IN THE MINDS OF THE TWO GUYS INVOLVED! only. period. end of sentence. what bearing does the opinion of an uninvolved party have upon my deal? nothing. why should what i want to do with my team need nodded assent from the majority of guys i'm in a league with? guys argue that "it's in the rules so we have to allow for a veto", well then change the rules. making a league with a Commish veto only is simple, and then tell your Commish NEVER to use the veto (within carefully crafted parameters).
some examples for you (and these have happened to me as Commish with veto only powers):
M and G make a trade and it looks lopsided but that's because you know the goalie that M just traded for isn't the starting goalie for his team that M believes is the case. M comes to Commish and says "i didn't realize that the goalie was just sent to the minors and if i had known that i wouldn't have made that deal". fine M, i believe you. i then talk to G who admits this was an error trade and M can have it rescinded. Commish vetos.
L and E make a trade that is very much in E's favour. Commish is talking to L about it and L admits "i didn't even look at the trade offer, i just accepted it because i don't care about my team anymore". Commish sees this as collusive since L is admitting that he isn't paying attention to his team anymore and the deal would help his buddy E win. trade veto'd and L isn't invited back next year.
Commish and S make a deal after Commish sees a guy on waivers who doesn't belong there but doesn't have the waiver priority to make a successful claim. Commish approaches S who has the 1st priority and asks what the price would be for him to make a waiver claim and then trade that guy to Commish for the pre-set price. S sees the situation as getting something for nothing and asks for an upgrade on his worst player. in the end the deal is a low end defenseman for a medium end center. the deal is upheld since there was no evidence that S didn't want this deal in question but the league has an email explosion since nobody trades a C3 for a D6.

things get sticky sometimes. people take stuff personally, even in a league where you're supposed to be playing for fun. if you're playing for something a little more than fun then let me suggest an impartial party acting as Commish to resolve all matters. if you want to use me for that i'd be willing to stand, just be aware that my first question is probably going to be "well, how is your league set up?" if it's already laid out in your league settings then you'll need to follow those rules, even if you don't like it.
in a perfect fantasy world, every trade goes through. if you don't think a deal is fair then you need to come up with some proof that somebody is cheating in order to gain an advantage. no proof? no veto. even if somebody is trading Ben Clymer to get Ryan Getzlaf.

Monday, November 5, 2007

fantasy hockey blogs

there are actually a LOT of hockey blogs out there, i've probably looked at hundreds in the last month or so, but there are precious few fantasy hockey blogs out there. i just want you to be sure that you check out the links that i like as they are posted on the right side of the blog page. the one for my church community has nothing to do with fantasy hockey whatsoever, those folks are way too deep for that.
among the best options that i've found in the relatively short time that i've been writing this blog still is the fine folks who used to be they are now situated at ESPN fantasy sports and they throw out quality fantasy hockey info on a daily basis. Sean Allan may be the best fantasy hockey writer around. i like Pete Becker's work a lot and Victoria Matiash is entertaining and right on point but i just think that Sean Allen has a very nice view of hockey talent in general. i don't have the love that he has for Robert Nilsson but that's ok, he doesn't have the love for PIMy players that i do.
let me next go to an excellent resource that you can find at Darryl Dobbs runs dobberhockey and i think it is THE best purely hockey website on the net. the columnists are top notch, they have a very active message board and they've been kind enough to link to my blog. they try to have a view of the entire NHL and they get away from self-serving opinion about how the writer's team is so much better than anyone else's team. i actually find that sort of unbiased writing very helpful as i'm trying to research things up for my own blog. there's little i like about blogs that advertise about how they have all the inside dope on whatever local team they're a fan of. dobberhockey is better than most sites by trying to cast as wide a fantasy hockey net as possible.
i also like but only for the blog of the guy running the site. i first heard of Eklund last year when TSN (or was it Sportsnet) brought him in as an anonymous consultant at key moments of last year's hockey season. Eklund runs a blog written by a correspondant for every team in the NHL, and to be honest i don't read any of them, only Ek's. i do like the inside info that Ek does seem to get his hands on.
i stumbled upon a few other hockey blogs that i've already linked to on the site. Peter Morrow's blog is good but i just wish he'd blog more, i like everythinghockey and just found them recently actually, and for some very interesting statistical analysis of hockey i've found that last one is a very cool site and it stays away from the "yeah us" perspective that many fan blogs seem to go toward.
now i know i do put a lot of stuff about the Leafs in my blog but i'm also trying very hard to talk about the entire league. i've tried to resist the urge to play up the advantages of a D4 on my favourite team, particularly if he has no fantasy value to your fantasy team.

there isn't enough traffic on this blog. tell your friends that i'm here and i want to help their fantasy hockey team win. seriously. i'm looking for more teams to review in this blog, i only have about 7 teams in the queue and if i don't get more than i won't have another option after Christmas.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday morning armchair

remember to set your clock back? i realize that young people don't care about that sort of thing but i just point out that you might want to change that up before you show up for school an hour earlier than you intend to tomorrow.
i do not think that the NHL has to tweak the schedule much at all and i think i may be in the minority here but the only change i want in the schedule is to take a few inter-conference games and send them over to become intra-conference games. in other words i want fewer games against teams in other divisions in your same conference and more games against the other conference. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PROVIDE US WITH FEWER DIVISIONAL GAMES! the divisional game is the backbone of the schedule, and it lets a team get a real hate on for a closely geographical rival. i think that teams should play every team in the other conference home and away at least once every year and it would even be nice if the Canadian teams can make an extra road trip through the other other Canadian squads.

last night the Leafs took round 2 of the PBBBBBBBBBLT bowl (if you don't know what i'm talking about look in Oct archives for the raspberry title). Matt Stajan scored a PP goal with a minute and a half to go. it's still a foolish option to take a penalty late in any game, you might not get much of a chance to bounce back. WHEW! the Leafs certainly needed that game. Stajan has minimal fantasy value despite going 1 and 1; a couple of my fave Habs did alright for themselves (Higgins with a PP goal and Markov with an assist and 28 mins of ice time) and Tomas Kaberle (please don't trade him JFJ) led off the scoring, a minute into the game on the PP.

people outside Ottawa forget that Mike Fisher is an excellent hockey player. he's one of the best checking C's in the league, he keeps the puck out of his own end and manages to score 20 every year. he got 2 last night and he has the potential to pot 30 in any season where he stays healthy all season.
Victoria Matiash wrote a very good article about the Bruins yesterday and mentioned their secondary scoring. she's right of course, the Bruins are the same bears you're used to and could go a decent way this season. they may even be able to steal a playoff spot from a team that can't seem to keep the puck out of their own net much of late. i'm not saying more about that. on another note i noticed that 2 weeks in a row now she's put into her column "veiled" (pun intended) references to marriage. i wonder if Vicky is hinting to her beau or not about it. anyway, she pointed out that Marco Sturm and Phil Kessel are putting up stats and contributing. that'll continue and i just want to say that i pegged Kessel for a big breakout this season.

i don't know if i've mentioned David Clarkson here or not but i'm mentioning him now. he might end up as a strong viable choice for PIMs and points this season. well, we know he'll put up the PIMs but also pocketed his 1st goal of the season this weekend. if he reaches 30 pts this season he'll be very good and we already know he'll be elite in PIMs. Henrik Lundqvist was amazing against the Devils last night and one sportscaster pointed out that there are fewer "hotter" goalies than Hank right now anyway. Marty Brodeur only had 2 fewer saves than Hank but they were less fantazalicious than Hank's. Peter Prucha got an assist on Gomez's goal and then he scored the shootout winner too. i've been watching Prucha very carefully in the hopes that he starts to get some more ice time. he hasn't been and i don't think the time to pounce hsa come yet.

Ryan Malone seems to be getting more and more time with Sid, go get him. Malone opened the scoring last night and nearly got 20 mins of ice time. if he's lining up with Sid and Gene then his value is through the roof. Miroslav Satan scored twice on only 3 shots and just shy of 18 mins ice time. i'm not a believer in Satan (in more ways than one)(although i now have Dana Karvey's Church Lady ringing in my ears), i just don't think he's a good enough offensive option to be of much use to a fantasy team. i think he runs hot and cold, mostly cold and his +/- always suffers, every year. no thanks. one guy i've been surprised has been having a brutal year is Marc Andre Fleury. i certainly didn't see that coming. i even suggested him as a possible keeper option and had him ranked as my 5th goaltender in my rankings this season. i have him on one team in fact and consequently i have the worst goaltending in the league, one of the best offenses and i'm stuck in 11th place. that sucks. the Pens do NOT need to trade for another goaltender, Fleury can do the job. let him. he lost 3-2 last night.

did you expect that Carolina would be this good? arguably a major power broker to start this year? did you peg Matt Cullen and Jeff Hamilton for their contributions? i didn't but i was also smart enough to realize it early on and i added Hamilton. of course the superstars in Carolina are still gonna do their thing so don't do something stupid like dropping Eric Staal to pick up Hamilton but you know what i'm saying right? take advantage of hot starts. the Canes started running a PP of 5 forwards out there since they couldn't feel all that comfortable with the moves that any of their D could put on a forechecking forward, and the change has paid off. look into it.

hmmm, Ilya Kovalchuk with a hattie. oh and he got another one the night before. i sure hope you didn't sell on him, that would've been stupid ... unless you got someone like Joe Thornton or something. Kovy is one of the best pure goalscorers in the world and all the turmoil behind the bench won't change that. Marian Hossa is going to explode too, do NOT trade him either. i think i'm falling in love with Tobias Enstrom as a fantasy hockey option (notice i don't say i'm falling in love with him as a fantasy option, that's not my way). Marty St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each dished 3 assists last night, they'll be fine. i worry a lot about Brad Richards' +/- though, there's no way that anyone on that offensive of a team should be minus the majority of his career, which is the case for Richards. it'd be enough for me not to consider him as a keeper option.

Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk were separated at birth i think. ok so their births occurred at 2 very different locales at very different dates but still, if anyone can show the goalscoring prowess that Kovalchuk shows, and if that person isn't Vincent Lecavalier, then he would be Marian Gaborik. Gabby only has 4 on the year but he has 13 pts and if healthy he'll compete for the Rocket Richard trophy. Niklas Backstrom was back in net again for the Wild and the kid Brent Burns threw out a couple of assists as the Wild beat up on Calgary last night. with all the talk of defensive hockey in C-bus this season then how about we talk about defensive hockey that has been taught by Jacques Lemaire for a couple decades now (it seems). the Wild will be heard from and if they were in the Eastern Conference they might very well lead their division but instead they fight for power in the west.

Dustin Bfuglien scored a far from Bfugly goal last night. still, move on. nothing to see here folks, at least not this year. Bfugly was an AHL star last year and amongst the scoring leaders, he may even have won the scoring race but i'm a bit too lazy right now to look it up. i still think he has value down the road but he isn't getting much play right now. i only said it was a pretty goal because i wanted to make the Bfugly joke. i don't see much else to note in the Blues/Hawks game last night, i did notice that Doug Weight got more ice time than nearly any other forward for the Blues last night. i still don't want him on my team anymore, unless i was desperate for the occasional assist.

the offense for Anaheim flowed out of the D last night. Mathieu Schneider will be an adequate replacement for Scott Niedermayer until Feb or so when Nied's and Selanne both decide to play again and Chris Pronger is a D anchor that anyone would want on their team. i've mentioned that im in a roto league where one represents an NHL team so that we can see who's the best roto option in the NHL. i'm the Ducks. i've been hurt by the "holdouts", retirements, injuries, replacement RW's who don't contribute and then get injured and the rook 2nd overall pick in the Sid draft who doesn't pan out and gets sent down again. the Ducks beat up on Phoenix last night, like they should.

i have a soft spot for the Canucks. i'd like them to succeed, unless they're playing a team that i like more, which isn't many. they've certainly been hurt by the injuries to Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa in the last week but take heart, they could be the Oilers' D corps instead (incidentally, that Matt Greene injury made me squemish). both Salo and Bieksa are quality defenders with booming shots and in the case of Bieksa a booming regimen to plaster somebody against the boards. but their absence also makes some room for Luc Bourdon who will be a solid player, Mike Weaver who you may never hear form again and it forces guys like Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell to step up and be the quality D men they have shown in the past that they can be. the Canucks held off a hard charging Avs team last night. if you were worried about Bobby Lou in Van then don't be, he'll be fine. one guy in my work league put him on the block and it would've been nice if he decided to move him to me since i really need G help there. oh well. Paul Stastny is a stud player, but you knew that already. Ian Laperriere is a cheap source of PIMs, John-Michael Liles will benefit from playing with so many skilled players offensively on the PP and the price tag on him might be a bit cheaper than you think, and Vancouver still can't seem to score outside of the twins.

Jonathan Cheechoo was back matched up with Joe Thornton again. about freaking time. Cheech is a quality sniper who's value went through the roof the moment that Joe became a Shark. unfortunately he can't seem to generate offense unless he's playing with greatness himself so if he doesn't line up with Joe than you've just wasted a high draft pick on him. Sandis Ozolinsh is back in the NHL and i just hope that his presence doesnt sap away value from Matt Carle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (i call him pickle). Ozo is a character who has struggled with alcohol in the past and in fact got nailed for driving under the influence AFTER he had been in treatment. i just don't like him and he won't go on my team. by the looks of things the ice time for the 2 kids listed above and Craig Rivet wasn't hurt much by his presence, i hope that remains the case. Jeremey Roenick scored his 4th goal of the season in only just shy of 8 mins ice time. JR is a mouthpiece who can be an entertaining figure but not a personal fave of mine (YOU wake the f*** up! to quote one of his fave lines of all time). JR has no fantasy value anymore. Jason LaBarbera is now the main goalie for the Kings.

there is still rumour that Jaroslav Halak has asked to be traded or he'll return to Europe instead of playing in the minors. i think LA, or PHX may be interested. i think Tampa needs goalie help but they may just want to ask for Huet out of Montreal instead then the Habs can bring Halak up to Montreal as the backup. i added Halak on my deep league team and am patiently waiting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


i love Leaf/Hab matchups. love them. unfortunately i only got to see a chunk of the 2nd period tonite but i made sure to turn it on in front of my Hab fan friend and then was sure to inform him later in the night that the Leafs have taken both games of the matchup this season. i still say the Habs are a scary, gutsy little counter-punching team that you don't want to take penalties against. if Alexei Kovalev is awake i've seen him do some amazing things on the ice so whatever you do, don't wake the man up but popping him or a facewash or something stupid.
i actually don't have much of an opportunity to say anymore. i haven't looked at boxscores yet much at all. more on my Sunday morning armchair tomorrow.
i'm actually at friends for a get-together right now.
all the best all.

Friday, November 2, 2007

picture in picture viewing

so i watched the Habs (ptui) host the Flyers last night. i told my wife that one of my favourite teams was on tv last night, she asked "who's that?" and i answered that my two favourite teams are Toronto and anybody playing Montreal. of course my wife is a hockey hater so i had to endure picture in picture except when the "real" show we were watching was on commercial. it's a good thing i love her so much. anyway, there were a few observations last night that i want to note from that game so pardon the ramblings.

Montreal fans boo'd everytime that Daniel Briere touched the puck. i have several problems here. first of all don't the Habs (ptui) have enough guys of the ilk of Briere that they don't have to worry about adding another to their roster? as far as i'm concerned Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins are very much like Briere in terms of overall play and if they were to have added Briere to their lineup he'd need a big gun that could complement his game. it just seems like there are several guys very much like Briere already in their lineup that he'd just give them more of what they already have. and if the sticking point was whether or not Briere would be guaranteed 1st line duty and you really want to add him then promise him 1st line duty. it's not like he isn't a 1st line guy or whatever, i'm just not sure that Briere/Koivu/Kovalev or whatever lineup they would throw together gets you what you really need in today's NHL.
i don't understand the cultural stuff about having so many Quebecois in Montreal. if i were English Canadian and i were playing in Montreal i'd CERTAINLY take French lessons. it could only help your profile in a hockey mad city like Montreal.
Kovalev's PP goal STILL hasn't been seen by Martin Biron. that was a freaking laser! man! it brought me out of my seat, and it's not like it was a slapshot or something it was a quick flick of the wrist and boom, it was buried. why can't Kovalev play like that 24/7 though. just saying.
the Habs (ptui) scored on a SHORTHANDED 3 on 1. shorthanded. the puck carrying D on the PP falls over the opposing blueline and yet nobody gets back to at least back check on the weak side? it's like they were playing pickup. i honestly think that Montreal is an excellent source of special teams stats, i particularly like Higgins and Koivu there. oh and Mark Streit as a PP option is so incredibly underrated that people just don't get it. i wouldn't be surprised to see goals in the low teens from Streit this season. in fact i have an over/under bet with a buddy at 10.5 for goals for Streit this year, and i'm going to win it.
i read on dobberhockey that Carey Price has been told to show for accomodations in Montreal. kid's not going anywhere this season. i wonder with the goaltending mess that is Tampa or Phoenix or even LA sometimes whether Huet just wishes for a sunny end to his career. now Huet is playing great so there's no hurry to move him but what if Tampa offered up the right player(s)? would they part with Vinny Prospal for Huet? i'm just spitballing, i've heard no rumours saying that Prospal is on the block.
Andrei Markov has 4 goals already and 10 pts as the anchor of the best PP in the league right now. the door has closed on getting Markov for your fantasy team, unless you wanted to overpay.

in other games Dan Ellis shutout Vancouver last night and there was a chorus of boos for the Canucks late in the game. i still say that Chris Mason will bounce back and get the job, he carried the Preds for a good chunk of last year and was the main reason why they could move Vokoun in the offseason.
Rick DiPietro shutout the Lightning last night and the Isles offense surprised me by continuing to keep pace with it's own hot start. i love DiP as a G2 fantasy option.
Henrik Lundqvist shutout the sleepy Caps offense last night. i did notice that Viktor Kozlov played 22 mins for the Caps and had 8 SOG's, 2 more than AO. if only Kozlov were eligible on the wing but he isn't so he's probably only a C4 option at best for fantasy purposes.
Ray Emery took a shutout into the 3rd period only to get smoked by Ilya Kovalchuk for a hattie in the 3rd period alone. he still came out with a win but as a guy who started Emery only to see that brutal showing that period i've got to say that i waited a long time for you to come back Ray and you have to show me a LOT more than that. i still say that Emery will be the starter and this 1A and 1B crap can't just go where they belong, Minnesota.
Mathieu Schneider is back and he'll pick up a lot of slack that Scott Niedermayer has traditionally carried for the Ducks. expect that Francois Beauchemin's stats go down a lot along with his TOI.
i just noticed that someone dropped Ryan Miller in my 10 team league, except he dropped him 3 days ago and he already cleared waivers. someone else claimed him and he would've been a great add for my team. apparently, it has to be said, you don't drop Ryan Miller. ever. never ever ever.
i hear this Crosby guy is pretty good. got 2 goals last night. he's got 7 now after a brutal start to his season. if he keeps that pace he'll finish with 147 goals on the season. it could happen too (ok you do sense the tinge of sarcasm right?).
there's rumour of the Leafs talking trade with the Avs. i hear that Tomas Kaberle and John Michael Liles are being mentioned. well, unless Paul Stastny is also being mentioned then i say that my Leafs shouldn't move Kaberle. and the Avs won't be moving Stastny anytime this decade.
Pete Becker over at ESPN fantasy sports points out that Brad Boyes has 9 goals on only 25 SOG's. he cautions against expecting too much from him, and i agree although i had Boyes pegged for a fairly big season this year. Pete's a very cool guy by the way. i've had beers with him so i know.
Phil Kessel saw his ice time go up a bit with Patrice Bergeron on the shelf. his stats'll go up too. there's a reason he was such a high draft pick (went 5th overall after plenty of talk of him going 1 or 2).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Stat Thursday - SOG/Game

2007-2008 - Regular season - All Skaters AVG SHOTS PER GAME

RK Player Team Pos GP S/G
1 Brendan Shanahan NYR L 11 ..... 5.7
2 Henrik Zetterberg DET L 13 .... 5.5
3 Alex Ovechkin WSH L 11 ..... 5.2
4 Devin Setoguchi SJS R 1 ..... 5.0
5 Jarome Iginla CGY R 12 ..... 4.8
6 Olli Jokinen FLA C 12 ..... 4.8
7 Rick Nash CBJ L 11 ..... 4.7
8 Shane Doan PHX R 10 ..... 4.3
9 Mike Cammalleri LAK L 13 ..... 4.2
10 Brian Rolston MIN R 12 ..... 4.2
11 Zach Parise NJD L 11 ..... 4.1
12 Daniel Alfredsson OTT R 10 ... 4.0
13 Vincent Lecavalier TBL C 11 .. 4.0
14 Marian Gaborik MIN R 10 ..... 4.0
15 Jon Sim NYI L 2 ..... 4.0
16 Mikko Koivu MIN C 12 ..... 3.9
17 Bill Guerin NYI R 9 ..... 3.8
18 Ryan Smyth COL L 11 ..... 3.7
19 Eric Staal CAR C 13 ..... 3.7
20 Jason Blake TOR L 13 ..... 3.7
21 Dion Phaneuf CGY D 12 ..... 3.7
22 Rostislav Olesz FLA C 7 ..... 3.6
23 Marian Hossa ATL R 9 ..... 3.6
24 Christopher Higgins MTL L 11 . 3.5
25 Pavel Datsyuk DET C 13 ..... 3.5
26 Dany Heatley OTT L 10 ..... 3.5
27 Ilya Kovalchuk ATL L 12 ..... 3.5
28 Nigel Dawes NYR L 6 ..... 3.5
29 Evgeni Malkin PIT C 11 ..... 3.5
30 David Legwand NSH C 11 ..... 3.5

[First/Prev] 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, ... 22 [Next/Last] is the official Web site of the National Hockey League. (c) 2007 NHL. All Rights Reserved.

i've only given you the top 30 SOG/game guys here, if you want more you can sort more yourself at

DO NOT PANIC ON BRENDAN SHANAHAN! i'm not finding that guys are asking about dumping or trading him right yet but if you're thinking about it, then stop. he doesn't have the most shots in the league, that honour belongs to Henrik Zetterberg, but Shanny has played 2 fewer games than Zett and traditionally shoots a ton of rubber. goals are going to happen for him and they'll start coming in bunches.

Devin Setoguchi has only played one game but he got to line up with big Joe for that game and he used the opportunity to pepper some pucks. if Seto(Kaiba)guchi continues to line up with Thornton then he's a must add NOW, if only for some short term gain at RW.

Ovechkin, Jokinen, Iginla, Nash all shoot a ton and if you can pull the wool over somebody's eyes to get any of them you'll be sitting pretty. unfortunately, every hockey fan knows these guys are excellent so the price tag will never be cheap. i especially like AO and Nash because of LW eligibility and there are fewer hotter options in the entire league right now than Jarome Iginla. good luck getting any of them though.

Shane Doan has 1 goal this season but his SOG/game is top 10 right now. he'll probably end up as a 30 goal guy but if he continues to have the trigger finger going then his goal total could go up toward 40 or so. somebody has to score for the Dogs, and boy, they are dogs.

Mike Cammalleri is 2nd in goals in the league right now and i see no reason why his goal scoring prowess can't continue. he has a quality linemate in Anze the pansie and he's got D with skill to pass the puck on the PP or send low drives that bounce off springy goalie pads and lay out front. people are still undervaluing the Kings' offense in general.

on a team with Marian Gaborik on it the hidden gem in Minnesota has to be Brian Rolston. guy is always healthy, unlike Gabby, he shoots more than Gabby this season, and quite possibly could outscore him over the course of the season (if Gabby isn't a healthy option more often). me likey.

that's the top 10 guys for you. now some quick hits on guys that are surprisingly on the list at all.

i looked at a keeper team this week in my team review (see MillerTime) that had Zach Parise on it. there has been a lot of criticism of the Devils' play this season but i think that Parise is the shining star for them this season. i think that they should be relying on him even more than they are, he's going to be a special player.

Mikko Koivu is a surprising option so far this season. last year he was a bottom of the fantasy roster guy at best but this season he seems to solidifying himself into a viable C3 in a standard 12 team league. most of his value is because he gets so much playing time with the big 3 in Minnesota but he's got a shot at making it so that everyone will talk about the big 4 in Minnesota. then of course we have to add to the mix Brent Burns on D and stellar G options from Backstrom and Harding. i think the Wild will be a team to be reckoned with in the not so distant future.

Bill Guerin, Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake are traditional shooters who are getting a bit long in the tooth but are still far from a place where they've lost it. if any of the 3 is close to having "lost it" though the answer is Guerin. i didn't like his addition to the Isles and was blown away that they made him the captain before he had ever played a game for them. i don't see the Isles offense keeping up this pace and a return to earth is in the offing for Guerin and Comrie imo.

PIMy-D is the only D in the top 30 in the league. Dion Phaneuf is an elite D for the Flames and they're going to have a hard time re-signing him now that the Kiprusoff contract helps to weigh down their salary structure. i just hope that they don't have to do something like trade PIMy-D so that i have to watch him play in some backwater like Tampa Bay or a swampwater like New Jersey. if you have Dion in any league that rewards for goals or for SOG then hang on tight and don't let go.

Rotislav Olesz is injured and out for a month. he shouldn't be on this list anyway but i guess he peppered a few before his wrist gave out from the strain.

Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk are both on this list and they need to be. i still maintain that the ATL offense is going to be fine. it's their defensive play that i worry about.

the best PP in the league is in Montreal (ptui!) and Christopher Higgins is defensively responsible while he shoots the puck a LOT. leagues that count SHP need to include Higgins on their roster, particularly while he's contributing so much to overall play in other areas of the game.

i'm surprised that Pavol Datsyuk is on this list at all, he's a pass first, ask questions later sort of guy.

Nigel Dawes is playing with Jaromir Jagr. if you hadn't realized that ... then it's probably too late 'cause he would've been snapped up already.

i like David Legwand. the kid took forever it seemed to reach the elite levels that were expected of him but he's there now. he's defensively responsible, he's a leader type and he shoots the puck. he'll easily get over 30 again this year.

Evgeni Malkin will play at the same time as Sid a lot this season and may very well finish 2nd in scoring. i'm not the first to say it but there ya go.